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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: Oatmeal and the Toddler Meal Plan

Monday, January 28, 2008

Oatmeal and the Toddler Meal Plan

I can't believe I haven't been adding this before, but this week I am officially adding real live (not just multi-grain baby cereal) oatmeal to my toddler's diet! I've been trying to use up the baby cereal that was already open when he his his 1st birthday last month... and we are finally at the end! :) This morning I tried oatmeal in DS's breakfast for the first time. It wasn't nearly as sweet (ok... not sweet at all) as his previous hot cereal as the 1:1 applesauce to cereal no longer applies. I used the oats we have (may have been quick oats... they are in a Tupperware and not the original box) and water, added a splash of whole milk to help cool and flavor, and added Cinnamon. I thought about making it sweeter after trying it myself (as I wouldn't have wanted to eat it), but thought to try it the way it was first. He ate it! Perhaps some days I will add some applesauce or honey to sweeten it and make it different... but we'll see how it goes.

Also, on the topic of oatmeal... I knew it was healthy, but I had never really looked at it before. So today I found an article about the "magical" properties of oatmeal (aimed at adults... but still applicable to our babies). While lowering our little one's cholesterol is probably not the first thing on our minds, I love that by introducing oatmeal to my baby now (and fostering a habit of including it in his diet for life) I can help avoid heart disease when he's all grown up! It's all about introducing our little ones to healthy foods now for a long life of good and healthy food choices!

Another great benefit of oatmeal is that it is a complex carb! This makes it a great food for keeping our kids off the obesity lists! Complex carbs stick around longer than simple carbs, giving our toddlers the energy they need for all that running around, and keeping them from craving unhealthy snacks before it's time for lunch.

Also, here's a blurb from the article I found on the nutrient density:

Nutrient Density: The nutrients in fortified oatmeal include all the B vitamins including the heart healthy Folate which lowers homocysteine levels (another heart disease risk factor), and it also includes iron, calcium, Vitamin A, protein and more. All this plus fiber, virtually no fat, low sodium and no cholesterol. At about 140 calories per cup, I consider this an all around good deal. Eat oat bran oatmeal and we've got even more fiber.

I love nutrient dense foods!

With all that said... here is my toddler menu for this week. Remember... dinners are for all of us and I make little changes to DS's based on what is easiest for him... but the foods are generally the same. :)

I'll be trying this recipe for the Kielbasa Pasta Casserole, but I'll be adding chopped broccoli to it for the veggie content! :)

Also... as far as the oatmeal... I plan to try Crystal's recipe for Baked Oatmeal. I've included it below... but go check it out for yourself!

Baked Oatmeal

  • 1 cup oil (can substitute butter or applesauce)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (can reduce)
  • 4 eggs6 cups oats
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk

Combine all ingredients in order listed. Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan.
Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned. Can refrigerate overnight
before baking. Serve topped with butter, brown sugar, and milk.

Yields: Approximately 12 servings

I'll probably experiment a bunch with the different options, using applesauce and reducing the sugar. I'll let you know how it goes! :)

Get more meal plan ideas at MPM!

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At January 29, 2008 at 1:26 PM , Blogger Marva said...

Thanks for the great post! Keep up the good work!

At November 17, 2009 at 9:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your menus are the only ones on the internet that I can use and print. Thank you soooo much!!


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